** Only 10 teams featured due to BYE Round.
While it’s been a reduced Round 17 due to State of Origin requirements, there was still plenty at stake for those sides having to run around this weekend. The Tigers falling over the line to snatch their unlikely win, the Bulldogs revival continuing, the Warriors again impressive and the Panthers physical dominance over the Dragons.
Here’s how the NRL News Power Rankings rate for this week:
1. Penrith – The Panthers deserve to take top spot this week, their defence was exciting to watch – physically hammering the Dragons all night and notching up a tough away win.
2. Dragons – Beaten but not embarrassed, obviously missing their Origin stars and Mark Gasnier will be better for the run with many new teammates. Luke Priddis is looking growingly tired at hooker however.
3. Wests Tigers – Lucky to listed to high on the NRL Power Rankings, but despite a horrid showing were still in the hunt to snatch a late win. With 22 competition points, they are sitting pretty and hopeful of a Top 4 placing it seems.
4. Roosters – Snare 3rd spot due to the reduced BYE Round. Managed a win at Canberra Stadium despite missing key man Mitchell Pearce and getting very little assistance from the referees. Showed good patience and will be happy with the form of veteran Jason Ryles.
5. Warriors – Totally dominated an shocking Eels outfit, the Kiwis feature some great kids in their side at the moment playing a confident, exciting yet well organised style. Unlike Warriors teams of the past – they look to be playing a much smarter, disciplined style. Going great guns.
6. Bulldogs – Managed to win another game on the trot, bouyed nicely by the creativity of Ben Barba. It’s taken ages for this kid to get his starting spot, but he doesn’t look like losing it ever again. When he has the ball, there is always something on. Starting to find their mojo again.
7. Broncos – Were super unlucky not to win on Friday. Outplayed the Wests Tigers all night despite featuring a bunch of rookies. Showing enormous heart, will be back to their best when the veterans return next week. Still on track for finals berth.
8. Cronulla – Despite the loss, have shown enough committment and improvement over the past few weeks. Probably needed the win here to have any chance of sneaking into the NRL Finals – positives still to be had, with their feeder team continuing their good form too.
9. Raiders – Were pickpocketed in their own backyard yet again. Should have had more against a Roosters side minus their playmaker in Pearce. Struggling badly with attack it seems, unable to put on points despite good field position. A poor slide continues.
10. Eels – Plenty of soulsearching still needing to be done over at Parra. While NZ is always a tough roadtrip, the Eels capiulated in the back end and their confidence will have taking a smashing. Losing touch very quickly with the Top 8 teams and if they can’t fire up on Monday night against the Cowboys – they never will.